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External Reserves Hit 11-year Low of $24.21bn

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CBN
  • External Reserves Hit 11-year Low of $24.21bn

The country’s external reserves have hit an 11-year low of $24.21bn, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The development means a limited amount of dollars will be available at the official interbank spot market, fuelling concerns over another round of depreciation of the naira.

The country’s external reserves had depleted to a then record-low of $24.8bn about two weeks ago.

The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.

Specifically, the reserves fell from $25.8bn on August 16 to $24.8bn on September 16. It decreased by $600m from the $25.4bn recorded on August 31 to $24.8bn on September 16, the current CBN data revealed.

The spate of decline in the external reserves follows the CBN’s almost daily interventions at the interbank/official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as chronic dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.

In its efforts to defend the naira and prevent it from falling further at the official interbank market, the central bank has been selling dollars there more frequently.

The naira had fallen to an all-time low of 365.25 to the dollar at the interbank market on August 18 before making a gradual recovery.

On Friday, the local currency closed at 305 against the greenback at the official market, while closing at 460 to the dollar at the parallel market on the same day.

The CBN had on June 20 lifted its 16-month-old currency controls and auctioned about $4bn on the spot and futures markets to clear a backlog of dollar demand and help boost interbank market trading.

The global plunge in oil prices caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development had forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned in June.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Finance

Egypt: African Development Bank Approves Loan of €83 Million for Egypt’s Electricity Sector to Spur Economic Recovery from Covid-19

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Power - Investors King

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved an €83 million loan to finance the second phase of Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program. The funding is part of the Bank’s budget support to the Egyptian government to strengthen its electricity infrastructure, which is expected to bolster the private sector and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The program seeks to enhance the power sector’s financial sustainability, governance and operations. It will also advance the provision of clean, reliable energy to drive green growth. Egypt’s successful reforms in the sector have led to greater private investment in utility-scale renewable energy projects.

“Egypt’s Vision 2030 instills the sustainability ethos across all sectors. Energy and electricity are amongst the top sectors in Egypt’s International Development Cooperation’s portfolio, pushing towards a green reform,” said Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al Mashat. “With 2021 being the year of private sector engagement, the Electricity and Green Growth Support Program will contribute towards sustainable growth and job creation and catalyze the development of Egyptian private entities,” she added.

Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the North Africa Region, said the African Development Bank continues to actively engage with the Egyptian government and private sector companies to support the country’s medium-term development plan and economic reforms, with a particular focus on economic infrastructure such as energy, transport, water and sanitation, as well as industrialization.

In addition to the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement and the Japan International Cooperation Agency have also provided financial support to Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program.

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Finance

Zambia: African Development Bank Approves $1.4 Million Grant to Improve Household Food Security in the Wake of Covid-19

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Food Security - Investors King

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $1.4 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program to reduce malnutrition among the Southern African nation’s most vulnerable households.

The Mitigating Impacts of Covid-19 on Household Food Security Project will create about 150 permanent skilled or semi-skilled positions and 40 part-time unskilled jobs in crop, livestock and fisheries value chains. The project will supply inputs for crops, livestock and aquaculture enterprises to promote good agricultural practices and increase food production. There will also be a capacity building component.

“The agriculture sector is an important source of livelihoods, employment and GDP in Zambia. Increased food supply resulting from additional grant funds will lead to more jobs, improved quality of life, and reduction of malnutrition in many impacted communities,” said Martin Fregene, African Development Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry.

The project provides supplementary funds to the ongoing Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project, a $32 million grant-funded initiative also from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has been managed by the Bank in the Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Serenje and Chitambo districts of Zambia over the past five years.

Global Agriculture and Food Security Program administrators said the six districts were selected based on poverty levels, food insecurity and malnutrition prevalence. However, with this funding and program, these districts have the potential for economic growth, and to promote crop diversification. Some 5,000 people, including 3,750 women and 1,000 youth, will benefit. Some 5,000 people will also benefit indirectly along the commodity value chains.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Zambia has implemented bold measures to protect the health and economic well-being of its citizens. These steps included a nationwide program to scale up agricultural diversification. The Bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility launched in 2020 has been a lifeline to member governments by providing resources to tackle the pandemic.

“The facility will consolidate the Bank’s support for Zambia’s economic diversification and impact mitigation against Covid-19,” said Mary Monyau, the Bank’s Country Manager in Zambia.

The Zambian project is in line with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, specifically, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Similar Bank projects have been successfully undertaken in Malawi, Niger, Liberia, Senegal and the Gambia.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program was established as a response to the 2008/09 world food price crisis, following a commitment by the Group of 8 nations (G8) in September 2009 to mobilize up to $20 billion for agricultural development and food security. The World Bank supervises about half of the project portfolio of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. The African Development Bank managed about a quarter in December 2019, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, 11%.

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Insurance

NAICOM Partners FRSC To Enforce Compulsory Motor Insurance

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Insurance NAICOM- Investorsking

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has partnered with the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) on the enforcement of compulsory motor insurance in the country.

The move will ensure that about 10 million uninsured vehicles in the country are captured into the insurance industry. The insurance industry is expected to generate additional revenue of N50 billion through this.

Mr. Sunday Thomas, the Commissioner for Insurance/CEO, NAICOM, spoke during a courtesy visit from The Corp Marshall, FRSC, Boboye oyeyemi, and his team, he said the partnership is needed to enforce vehicle insurance as part of the compulsory insurances, stating that, this move will eradicate insurance racketeers while ensuring that those who fail to comply are adequately prosecuted.

He promised that the regulatory body and FRSC will work out an effective plan for the enforcement of 3rd party motor insurance in the country.

Boboye Opeyemi, on his part, appreciated the concerns of the insurance regulator, noting that the road safety corps is more than ready to work with NAICOM to ensure vehicles on Nigerian roads carry genuine insurance certificates.

Newsmen had earlier reported that, of the estimated 13 million vehicles on Nigerian roads across the country, only three million of them have at least third-party motor insurance certificates, leaving about 10 million vehicles uninsured.

The 10 million uninsured vehicles, according to findings, were the ones owned by the government and private individuals and companies.

Investigation shows that some of these 10 million vehicles parade fake motor insurance papers, while some did not have any insurance coverage even as few who had genuine insurance papers before, have failed to renew when their previous motor insurance cover expired.

To this end, these uninsured vehicle owners newsmen findings show, have violated the Federal Roads Safety Corps(FRSC) Act which mandates all vehicles on Nigerian roads to carry at least a third-party motor insurance policy.

Third-Party Vehicle Insurance comes at a fixed price of N5,000 for privately used saloons and SUVs, while commercially used vehicles are charged N7,500 and in some cases, N5,000.

Using the N5,000 insurance valuation of which each vehicle should at least carry, the insurance industry can recoup N50 billion premium income annually if all the 10 million vehicle owners could be compelled to have genuine insurance certificates.

Low enforcement of compulsory motor insurance, according to market observers, has been responsible for the insurance apathy of road users.

To recoup the N50 billion, newsmen learned that, prior to this engagement, insurance operators, under the auspices of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) have engaged Lagos State in the past on enforcement of motor insurance through their licensing offices. Similarly, there were already ongoing discussions with Kaduna, Niger, Kogi and Ogun States to ensure that motorists get genuine insurance cover at the point of renewing their vehicle particulars at licensing offices across the aforementioned states.

The chairman, NIA, Mr. Ganiyu Musa, had earlier disclosed that the industry is embittered about what it is losing to insurance racketeers and non-insurance of vehicles, disclosing that, the association, on behalf of the insurance industry, is engaging five states with plans to extend to other states as the time progresses.

According to him, “we are also working closely with the state vehicle Inspection service on enforcement of Third Party Motor Insurance in the state. We are also engaging Niger, Kaduna, Kogi and Ogun States, and remain hopeful that other states will see value in the platform and embrace it. Out of the estimated 13 million vehicles in Nigeria, only about 2,939,767 Third Party Motor policies are in force as of Apr 26, 2021.”

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